Sustain London Food Link Articles

Recipes from your veg box: no faff pilaff

The next in our series of recipes with Better Food Traders boasts seasonal leek in a wonderfully flavourful one-pot pilaff, with ingredients from organic growers that source Cambridge Organic. 

Cambridge Organic

Cambridge Organic

Leeks are part of the allium family and provide a milder alternative to their relatives. They are beautiful on their own, served grilled or roasted as a side dish, and can also be used in the same way as onions and shallots to build flavour at the start of a recipe. In this dish, they are simply steamed so they go deliciously soft but maintain their sweet, onion-y flavour.

Cambridge Organic focus on connecting people in Cambridge area to locally-grown, organic fruit and veg: the best kind of food for our health, and the planet’s. They provide weekly or fortnightly veg boxes, delivered by electric vehicles (charged from solar panels on their warehouse roof!). Cambridge Organic also champion small local food businesses through their sister business, the Cambridge Food Hub, which supports start-up businesses, particularly those focused on operating sustainably, in accessing a wider market.

Recipe by Crow Hedger, Cambridge Organic:

No faff Pilaff

300g white basmati

250g onions, finely sliced

200g mushrooms, quartered

Whatever veg you have to hand, e.g.

Leek, quartered and very finely sliced

Spinach, stems finely chopped and tops roughly chopped

4 bay leaves

Turmeric, two fingers-worth, finely grated (or two tsp ground). 

¼ tsp salt and ground pepper to taste

Garlic to taste (Crow says that means one whole bulb)

3 cardamon pods, crushed with the back of a knife

2 tsp coriander and 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted in a pan and then crushed

1 lime

1 stock cube (veg or mushroom)

30g vegan block


Tip: if you’re using fresh turmeric, grate it straight into the pan so it doesn’t stain your chopping board (or entire kitchen). Lightly oil your hands to pick up the turmeric to stop them getting stained

In a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, sweat down the onions with the melted vegan block, salt and pepper until the onions are translucent. Add the spices and bay, garlic, mushrooms, and rice, stir round to coat. Make the stock with 750ml of hot water and add. Pop the lid on and leave on low for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes add the leeks on top to steam for the last five minutes. By now the rice should have absorbed the stock and be cooked through. Check the rice is cooked and add the spinach (or other leafy greens) and stir through. Squeeze the juice of the whole lime over to finish – it really brings the flavours out. You could roast some seeds up or toast some flaked almonds to sprinkle on top to add some crunch and protein.


All the Better Food Traders sell organic, fresh, delicious veg. They put their farmers, communities and the planet first. Fair pay, less pollution, seasonal, healthy food for everyone. 

Small, ethical food retailers can’t always do delivery slots, nor offer huge amounts of choice at low prices. But by committing to these ethical food providers you are doing the planet and your local community a massive favour, all whilst prioritising healthy food for you and your family. Find your local Better Food Trader here.

Check out last month's wild garlic recipe  from our Better Food Traders series

Published Tuesday 18 May 2021

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